The Kardashian’s debut cosmetics line
Kim, Kourtney and Khloe announced their range, Khroma Beauty, last year and they were planning to roll-out it out at more than 5,000 retailers across the U.S. this month.
But the trio have been stopped from distributing their beauty products, as a Florida-based company called Kroma Makeup is suing their licensing partner for ‘stealing’ its name.
The firm’s owner Lee Tillett trademarked the Kroma name back in 2010 and she sent a cease-and-desist letter to Boldface, the company that produces the Kardashian-fronted Khroma line, when the range was launched.
Miss Tillett sought $10m (£6.67m) in damages from the sisters and Boldface Group Inc for ‘stealing’ the name of her cosmetics line.
She claimed that the girl’s company, for which they were guaranteed to make at least $6.2 million, would cause confusion in the marketplace.
And it seems like the judge on the case agrees, according to Law360: ‘Tillett has demonstrated that [she] will likely lose business opportunities, customers and goodwill due to Boldface’s use of the confusingly similar Khroma Beauty marks,’ said U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins in her ruling.
‘The court has little doubt that, in short order, the Khroma Beauty products will likely eliminate Tillett’s business entirely, creating irreparable harm sufficient to justify an injunction.’
While this injunction is preliminary at this point (non effective yet) and could be postponed if Boldface appeals the decision, the future isn’t looking great for the famous sisters.
Tillett first raised the issue with the girls in July 2012 when she claimed it infringed on her Kroma Make-up line, which she founded back in 2004.
Florida native Miss Tillett told the Orlando Sentinel: ‘I developed the Kroma line myself, built my business through my own hard work, and took the legal steps necessary to protect it.
‘And yet I have now been forced into legal battle with the Kardashians simply because they have decided to take something that doesn’t belong to them.’
On the Kroma website it states the word means colour in Greek, but adds how Miss Tillett used her 22 years (experience) of creating looks for thousands of women’ and ‘personally selected all of the shades and has personally made all of the formulas.’
And in her formal federal court response she claims the promotion of Khroma was likely to mislead customers into thinking her line is associated with the Kardashian sisters.
She added: ‘The false association is damaging … and threatens to destroy its business.’
According to the counter-claims, Boldface has paid the Kardashians an upfront advance of $1m for licensing rights, with guaranteed minimum royalty payments of $4.6 (£3.07) million to $5.2 (£3.47) million, depending on launch dates of various products.
As part of the deal, they allegedly have some power over the product line and that Kim ‘proposed’ it be called Khroma.
Miss Tillett’s attorney Elliot Gipson claims the 32-year-old should have known better.
He pointed to discussions by representatives for himself and TLK Fusion, which allegedly acted as Kardashian’s product-placement agent for a show that was being produced by Kim.
He said: ‘On or about May 2010, representatives for Tillett and TLK Fusion were engaged in discussions regarding the possible product placement of the KROMA cosmetics line on the television reality show special The SPINdustry that was scheduled to air on E! Entertainment Television following an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.’
No deal was ever reached, but if this is true she could have had advance knowledge that the name was already in use.
Kardashian spokesman Todd Wilson claims the sisters ‘have acted properly at all times’.
This is not the only lawsuit the product line is engulfed in at the moment.
Los Angeles-based Chroma Makeup Studio is also suing for alleged trademark infringement.